India is a poor country where hundreds go hungry every day. And yet it wastes more food than any other country. When I wrote of the new culture of ‘Throw it Away and Buy Another’ an Indian lady settled in the US said she learnt there the practice of giving away, that has not yet come to this land of Dana Karna where sacrifice is considered a virtue.
“I learnt it a very hard way, but i am happy to restore some of our things, not very precious, but very memorable ones, after I went to US and saw how people recycle things to give to the needy. People even don’t hesitate to pick things from the roadside , if required,” she wrote.
“We will have to tell the coming generation of India how people and things are important for all of us.” she added.
Craigslist on US Internet, where you can post whatever you like has a post for giving away things free. In many dump-yards in colonies there is an enclosure for things to be taken free. Recently in India too some cities have a wall on which you can hang what you give away or take what you need. She had the courage to say she did use CL in the early days in US, which no Indian would admit.
A recent Tamil.post I received on WhatsApp showed a restaurant owner offering to forego the bill of a group if they come with him. He takes them to a field and shows how hard the farmer works to produce food and how they left so much uneaten in their plates. It was an eye-opener.
Then there is a story of an Indian group in a hotel in Germany who leave more than half the food. A lady sitting at another table tells them how t was wrong. The Indians say they paid for it and it was none of her business. The man at the counter comes and tells them, “Yes, the money is paid, but can they eat the money? The cash may be theirs, but the resources were of Germany, he tells them putting them to same. Every restaurant in the US gives brown bags to take home food left uneaten.
In India, a status symbol is how much food is thrown away in a marriage banquet. It is a fashion to waste food. And our scriptures call food a form of God!